Key Strategies For Retaining Warehouse Employees in 2021

Are your warehouse employees top of your agenda?

Warehouse employees continues to rank as a top priority for warehouse managers working tirelessly to keep up with skyrocketing volumes and supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic recovery is still underway, and that means that the warehousing industry is likely to see additional job growth in the coming months as companies aim to get back to some semblance of normal operations.

While certain industries such as restaurants and hotels have seen operations come to a halt, supply chains serving consumer packaged goods (CPG), grocery, and other eCommerce channels continue to face volume increases, making finding and keeping warehouse employees to handle it, vital. As heavy volumes will likely persist in a post-COVID world, warehouse employees market competition will remain fierce, calling for warehouse managers to deploy not only innovative, but human strategies to effectively support their operations.

Explore the key strategies below that will help you to find and retain the warehouse employees needed for your warehouse operations.

1. Competitive salaries

Warehouse operator wages have seen positive shifts in recent years, a welcome evolution from the relatively flat levels where they’ve resided for over a decade. Keeping up with wages and having the economic and demographic data to do so is crucial to attracting warehouse employees and enhancing the quality of life for those who chose this career path.

With operations dependent on adequate warehouse employees, Warehouse managers need to view its team of workers as a leading asset and be responsible for holding on to its, and its customers, most valuable resource – its people. They need to keep a pulse on the factors impacting warehouse employees across all major markets it serves – Who else is hiring? What are they paying? What are the average commutes? What are the unemployment rates in surrounding communities? Make sure your team is constantly leveraging this data to ensure your strategies are competitive.

2. Recognise warehouse employees as essential

People want opportunities to do their best. The pandemic has created a newfound appreciation for workers in the logistics industry. For the first time, the supply chain’s unsung heroes have stepped into the spotlight and are being recognised for their dedication to keeping our economy running through first-of-its-kind disruptions.

People want opportunities to do their best and make a difference. By supply chain companies continuing to help the world recognise warehouse and other logistics professionals as essential parts of the economy, we can help attract future generations and spur industry growth and innovation.

3. Automate the workplace

Wherever possible use the latest automation methods and the latest WMS. Time spent walking round the warehouse locating bins and the correct computer terminals is wasteful, inefficient and tedious. Mobile workstations, hand-held tablets , automated bins and the latest WMS will reduce the time taken to complete tasks. Staff will be more productive and it makes their daily routine more rewarding.

Is the latest technology the key? The concept of talking to a machine may not sound like a great motivator, but voice technology and the latest WMS solutions have been found to have positive effects on warehouse staff – work-life balance and overall wellbeing.

The system can provide clear guidance and direction over the course of the shift, enabling greater efficiency whilst reducing frustration and errors.  As instructions are given on an as needed basis, pickers can concentrate on single actions without distraction or delay, thereby reducing errors.

4. Create a safe and productive environment

Never underestimate the impact of a badly thought-out workplace. Cramped and dirty areas are depressing places to spend a shift and can be dangerous if machinery is involved. This hardly encourages staff to give it their best effort or indeed to stay around for long. Clean, well-lit areas are more cheerful and safer. People must know that their safety and wellbeing is important to the company.

A break out area describes any space open to employees that is separate from their usual working area. It can be a place for employees to relax, eat their lunch and even hold informal meetings. Companies can sometimes see a break out area as an unnecessary but employers should consider the benefits and how this will impact on the company’s performance before ruling them out. The fact is that, with the right environment, a breakout space can become an invaluable work area.

Lastly remember to bear in mind that warehouses do not have many windows and is absent of natural light, lighting in your break out areas can play an important role in creating a comfortable, light and mood lifting environment. Linking artificial lighting cleverly with the natural daylight can ensure optimum lighting conditions whilst minimising energy consumption.

5. Rethink job training

The competitive nature of the current warehouse employees market is raising new questions with reimagined solutions regarding hiring and training. In this essential business where forklift operators and warehouse professionals are gravely needed, but not all job applicants are 100% qualified; is it time to re-evaluate traditional training procedures as an industry?

The answer is likely “yes.” As an industry, we need to create training programs that give potential employees real opportunities to learn new skillsets – no one is born knowing how to drive a forklift or an 18-wheeler. By evaluating training plans that invest more time in educating candidates, warehousing and other supply chain professions can attract the vast numbers of job seekers from highly affected industries looking to pivot careers and get back to work.

6. Collaboration

Finding warehouse employees is difficult, but keeping it can be equally, if not more, challenging. Every associate, regardless of industry, wants to feel like they’re contributing to their company’s goals and being heard when they have ideas. Creating an environment that fosters these feelings of cross-functional collaboration and idea-sharing is necessary to retain top talent and the great ideas they bring.

In Summary

While it may be easier to attract the right talent today than it was pre-COVID-19, warehouses are faced with the challenge of retaining their top talent once they have them on board, particularly as other employment sectors recover and provide opportunities for workers to return to their previous roles.

Factors such as an optimised warehouse layout that enables associates to work efficiently, a safe work environment, benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans, effective training and opportunities for growth and development all play a role in employee satisfaction and retention. Don’t forget technology is also a key factor, ensure your staff work with the latest Cloud WMS Solutions to increase productivity and efficiency.

About us:

Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfilment and manufacturing warehousing.